chapter  15
14 Pages

Families and children with special needs

ByDavid Hall, Jonathan Williams, David Elliman

Premature and low birth weight infants requiring special or intensive care have additional needs to those of full-term healthy infants. After discharge from the hospital, the family is often supported by an outreach nurse from the neonatal unit and the neonatal paediatricians and their colleagues. Kangaroo mother care originated in services for poor families in Colombia, but is used in the Western world as well. There is an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome in infants born prematurely. Parents have additional stresses with a premature infant. Some low birth weight infants have chronic lung disease and need oxygen; some have tracheostomies, require tube or gastrostomy feeding, or have other major medical and nursing needs. Lacking the social contact and attention that he needs to make sense of the world around him, the infant may withdraw into self-stimulating procedures, such as rocking, head banging or eye poking.